Marisa Tomei Will Play Aunt May in the Next Spider-Man

By  · Published on July 8th, 2015

Sony Pictures Classics

Following in the footsteps of both Rosemary Harris and Sally Field, a third Oscar-caliber actress will likely play Aunt May on the big screen. Following Variety’s report that Marisa Tomei (who like Field is also an Oscar winner) has been offered the role, The Wrap confirmed she’s in final negotiations to play the maternal figure for the next Spider-Man reboot, which will be made by Sony in partnership with Marvel Studios and directed by Jon Watts.

The 50-year-old actress would star opposite Tom Holland, who won the coveted prize of playing Peter Parker/Spidey in at least a couple Spider-Man installments plus MCU crossover appearances. She will probably remain exclusive to the superhero’s own movies, though (however, THR’s Heat Vision blog claims she’ll have a cameo in Captain America: Civil War). Now we just need them to cast Joe Pesci as Uncle Ben, unless he’s already dead at the start of the new continuity.

Sony wasn’t kidding with their idea to make this a younger franchise this time around. Holland is at least eight years younger than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were when they began the role of Spider-Man, but Tomei is much lower in age than her predecessors. She’s 16 years younger than Field was in The Amazing Spider-Man and 25 years Harris’s junior at the time of the first Spider-Man in 2002.

I don’t know why May has to be always thought of as an elderly woman, so for me Tomei’s casting isn’t strange if I don’t place her image next to that of the white-haired portrayals of the comics. She is the sister-in-law of Peter’s father, and Peter is a teenager. Technically, May could be in her 30s and still qualify as the aunt of a 15-year-old boy.

Then again, she’s also traditionally supposed to be retired, a former member of the real-life elder rights group the Gray Panthers and kept from the knowledge of Parker’s super powers and heroic alter ego for the sake of her health – as in the shock was believed to likely kill the old lady. According to a spin-off prequel Sony was once planned, May also was a secret agent of some sort back in the ’60s. Around the time this May was born.

I’d still love to see those espionage origins come into play, though, somehow. If you’re going to have someone as talented and strong and beautiful as Tomei in the role of Aunt May, give her some action. Or at least a comics-faithful hot romance with one of Spidey’s enemies.

This Spider-Man is due in theaters on July 28, 2017.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.